Following in Sashas paw prints

first_imgHarry Kiick had a certain expectation in mind when he began looking for a new service animal after the death of his beloved dog Sasha earlier this year.He thought he might end up with another German shepherd. He envisioned an adult dog with a calm, confident, loving demeanor.In other words, Kiick was looking for another Sasha. What he found was something very different.Meet Carter, a rambunctious bull mastiff/Shar-Pei puppy with plenty of affection and loyalty — and a lot to learn.“Our relationship is very different,” said Kiick, who lives with an uncontrolled seizure disorder. “Sasha came in and she was in charge from Day One. We were partners from Day One. With this relationship, I have to take charge more.”Six-month-old Carter is still going through obedience training with regular sessions at a Petco store in east Vancouver. With trainer Paula Ercoli at his side, Kiick and Carter walked a loop around the store one day last week, working on various commands.Carter’s youth showed at times. He perked up excitedly whenever he spotted another dog. He pulled his leash, occasionally becoming distracted.“Heel,” Kiick said, easing Carter back to his side. “That’s it. Just like that. Stay with Dad.”Kiick admits working with Carter has been frustrating at times. But he’s seen significant improvement in a relatively short time, he said. The two were only paired May 6 — 12 years to the day after Kiick and Sasha became partners in 2002.When Sasha died in February, she left big paw prints to fill. The dog made a profound impact on Kiick and many others in the community. A memorial service for Sasha packed dozens of people into the chapel at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, where Kiick has volunteered for years.last_img